Team building exercises can often fall flat; they run the risk of being lame, employees feel uncomfortable and even some of the best team building days can be forgotten about as soon as they’re over.
That’s not to say that team building isn’t worth investing it- it is an important part of any business and it can mitigate conflict, build communication and increase collaboration. Team building can also boost engagement, increase productivity and improve company culture- all of which can have massive financial benefits for businesses.
With disengaged employees estimated to cost their organisation 34% of their salary, investing in team building and busting bad workplace dynamics can pay off in the long run. Organisations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity and lower staff turn over– illustrating just how important a cohesive and focused team is.
Below are some ways to build comradery, communication and collaboration within your team:
- Exercise challenges
Exercise challenges are a great way to channel competitive energy within teams. This also has the added benefit of being an opportunity to implement a workplace wellness program. Even if employees aren’t committed to winning a physical challenge like a fun run, it’s possible to implement programs that everyone can get behind e.g. who can walk to work the most in a week or who can hit 10, 000 steps in a day. Other exercise challenges include activities like Tough Mudder and the Colour Run.
Not only can exercise challenges and wellness programs encourage a more positive team culture they also have the added benefit of reducing employee absenteeism, a win-win for employers and employees.
- Escape rooms
Escape rooms can be a great bonding experience for team members and allow everyone to develop a deeper understand of the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues. The success of escape rooms as a team bonding activity is due to the fact that it requires staff to get into a problem-solving mindset. Team members are required to work together, flex their communication skills and establish a common goal- all important aspects of working as a part of the team when they return to the office.
- Team huddles
A common characteristic of team bonding exercises is that they are an isolated incident- usually a single day or activity that is set apart from the regular work flow.
In order for team bonding to be truly effective, exercises must be continued into day to day work life. A good way to do this is to introduce team huddles.
Team huddles are quick team catch ups, where everyone is able to report on big projects and the tracking of goals. The frequency of huddles is dependent on the workplace but daily or weekly catch ups can reaffirm comradery and allow everyone to feel like a part of the team.
Office trivia is a quick and easy way for employees to learn more about each other and collaborate as a team.
Putting employees into groups and coming up with office specific questions (example include: what café is closest to the office? What year was the company founded? How many people in the office catch the train to work?) allows employees to work together and creates talking points for people to connect outside their work tasks.
- Lip Sync Battle
Another one that can be done within the office, a lip sync battle is guaranteed to bring colleagues closer. Place employees in groups and get them to select a song to perform together.
This is a great way to bring together people who may not have previously worked together and gives an opportunity for all sorts of personalities to get involved.
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals and is usually used to describe a company’s big business goals. By definition, BHAG is meant to be something beyond your teams’ current capabilities.
Coming up with BHAG is fun, doesn’t require leaving the office and is a great way to realign the team to current goals and the milestones required to reach them.
- Ice Breaker Games
Ice breaker games are easy logistically as they don’t require moving off site. They’re perfect if you are welcoming new recruits into the team or introducing different departments to each other.
Ice breakers are often a welcome break from regular work and a chance to get to know colleagues better. While they can sometimes begin awkwardly, tried and tested games (like Two Truths and One Lie described below) are a good way to encourage communication between co-workers.
Two Truths and One Lie: In a group, members take turn saying two truths and one lie about themselves. It’s up to the rest of the group to guess what they think is the false statement.